“Access to meaningful price information is more important than ever, as consumers continue to take on a rising share of expenses,” Suzanne Delbanco, Catalyst for Payment Reform's executive director, said in a news release.
Last year, states received points just for having transparency laws, but this year, they also were judged on how well they implemented those laws. In 2013, New Hampshire got an A, in part for its law requiring price information to be publicly posted online. This year, the state was given an F because its website is inoperative.
“Some states have robust price transparency laws and regulations, requiring them to create a publicly available website with price information based on real paid claims information,” the report said. “But in reality, the public can't readily access that information because the website is poorly designed, or poorly functioning.”
States were not credited for “volunteer” websites operated by local organizations but not authorized by statute. “While these sites can be a valuable resource to consumers, if they are not legislated, they can be short-lived, dependent on the goodwill and resources of the organization that hosts them,” the report stated.
The scope, utility and accuracy of state price sites were judged to assess how well states were following their transparency laws.
“Americans deserve access to information about the cost and quality of healthcare and we're especially disappointed that populous states … didn't take steps to raise their failing grades,” Francois de Brantes, Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute executive director, said in a release.